Ballet Scene | Classical in Connecticut by Karen White

In a class at Connecticut Classic, a ballet competition, four boys were trying their best to master Colas’ bottle dance from La Fille mal gardée. It wasn’t the zippy footwork and sprightly jumps that had them flustered—it was a simple step into second position with the arms held high in triumph.

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EditorSpeak

The results are preliminary, but they’re a no-brainer to anyone involved in arts education. A study has found that “children that partake in music activity in a group setting are more prone to developing one of humankind’s noblest traits: empathy.”

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EditorSpeak

The 2012 graduates of the University of Pennsylvania got some unusual commencement advice. Nipun Mehta, the founder of ServiceSpace.org, told the Ivy Leaguers that though everyone else might expect them to fly, he wants them to walk. What he said makes sense for all of us, and it seems particularly timely advice for our business-focused issue.

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EditorSpeak

It made No. 4 on TenduTV’s blog listing “APAP Preview: Ten Things the Dance Field Should Be Talking About in 2012,” and I’m sure it has been popping up in your conversations more and more. What is it? The issue of intellectual property rights, otherwise known to dance teachers as “Hey, that’s my choreography!”

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EditorSpeak

By Cheryl Ossola and Karen White Are We Having Fun Yet? This summer at the DanceLife Teacher Conference I was reminded of a good practice that’s easy to forget: if you want to engage people—in just about anything—make it fun. I can thank Dance Studio Life editorial assistant Arisa White . . .

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Don’t Sew? So What?

I attend several recitals per year. I know how much effort every studio owner puts into the details of the show, whether it’s a big extravaganza or a concert-setting performance. You agonize over the selection of music, costumes, and scenery. Everything should go smoothly, especially since you planned everything so carefully.

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Make the Most of Volunteers

Volunteers are the many hands that keep a recital rolling. They make buns, soothe babies, pull curtains, sell chips, and rip tickets. Many complete these menial but important tasks with care and precision (or at least give it the old college try), but what about the dressing-room mom who fusses over her own child’s appearance but ignores a 3-year-old who’s playing Picasso with a lipstick?

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Smooth Sailing in the Mainstream

Talk to the teachers and staff at Dance Innovations, Inc. and you’ll hear the same thing over and over—“It’s our philosophy. It’s just what we do.” And while they might struggle to put that philosophy into words, the Dance Innovations program for special-needs students speaks for itself.

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EditorSpeak

Years ago, I was chatting with a veteran teacher at a dance convention. We were newly acquainted, so we were trading info on what we did and people we knew. I happened to mention that I did a lot of work with community theater groups, and this woman rolled her eyes. “Oh, I know those kind of jobs,” she said. “You do all the work and get no pay at all.”

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EditorSpeak

Dance teachers have it tough, and I’m not talking about their work in the classroom. What’s really a challenge is dealing with the ignorance of students’ parents and those outside of the dance community, for whom dance—ballet in particular—is mysterious and overly romanticized, the stuff of dreams involving ethereal beauty, personal sacrifice, and unexpected love.

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Mail | May-June 2011

I read the magazine from cover to cover; it keeps me in touch with the dancing school world. I especially enjoyed the article on my good friend Jeanne Meixell [“Schools With Staying Power: Doing It Mom’s Way,” November 2010], and Diane [Gudat] continues to write wonderful articles with a great flair for comedy.

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Technique + Heart = Art

At a Dance Masters of America competition last March, the students of The Gold School got a standing ovation, and it wasn’t just for their technique. It was because of their artistry. Seven years ago, when Rennie Gold, director of the Brockton, Massachusetts, school, decided to scale back from the competition scene and showcase his students through a series of benefit concerts, his goal was to create artists through dance.

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EditorSpeak

You hear it all the time, from studio owners and competition directors: competing isn’t about winning; it’s about the experience. About learning, teamwork, developing stage presence, testing your limits, finding out whether you’re a minnow or a giant koi in the big pond of the competition arena. All good stuff.

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EditorSpeak

Flash mobs. Specifically, dance flash mobs. They’re all over YouTube, and judging by the frequency with which people on Facebook link to them, they’re as popular with non-dance folks as with dancerly types. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing out on some big fun.

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D Is for Dance

At first glance, there’s no mystery to the “d” in “Company d.” It stands for dance, or maybe for Darlene Winters, the speech therapist and lifelong dancer who founded the group nine years ago. Learn a bit more, and you might think it refers to Down syndrome. Perhaps. But anyone looking to describe these dancers with another “d” word—disabled—would be very, very wrong.

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Performance Plus

Leyna McKenney loved to dance, but she quit when the awkward feeling of being the largest, tallest girl in the studio became too much to bear. Ten years later, preparing for an audition, she was shocked to realize that she didn’t even own a pair of dance shoes anymore.

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